NFL Saints quarterback Drew Brees has issued a lengthy apology after stating in an interview on Wednesday that he would “never agree” with someone kneeling during the national anthem and disrespecting the American flag.
In an interview with Daniel Roberts, Editor-at-Large at Yahoo Finance, Brees gave his thoughts on players kneeling during the anthem in the upcoming NFL season.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said. “Let me just tell you what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country during World War Two, one in the Army, and one in the Marine Corps, both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country, and this world, a better place.”
“So, every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed.”
Brees’ comments elicited anger from several star-athletes including LeBron James and Malcolm Jenkins.
“I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused,” Brees wrote. “In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”
Brees went on to state how he stands with the African American community against “systematic racial injustice,” and “police brutality.”
It seems Brees’ apology may have caused even more outrage. Many people on his Instagram post expressed anger that he apologized for his original comments, while others were upset and said that they didn’t believe his apology. “Cancel culture strikes again,” one comment on Instagram said.
Senator Ted Cruz., R-Texas, responded to Brees’ apology via Twitter, writing, “Sadly predictable. Pro sports have become PC speech police, terrified of offending the angry Left.”
The controversy over kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games was sparked by former NFL 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who took a knee in the 2016 NFL season during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States.
Kaepernick received both fierce support and strong anger over his decision to kneel.
The national anthem of the United States is “The Star-Spangled Banner” which was originally written as a poem on September 14, 1814 by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. Key wrote the poem while in captivity aboard a British ship after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy, and seeing a 15-star, 15-stripe flag still waving above the fort after a night of battle.
My favorite rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Whitney Houston at the NFL Superbowl in 1991, 10 days after the beginning of the Persian Gulf War. The rendition has received over 28 million views on YouTube.